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The first area to focus is the kitchen.  Many accidents occur when people are in a hurry.  Here are some tips to stay safe in the kitchen

Christmas Tree
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and children should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure children stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Turn handles away from the front of the stove so children are not tempted to touch the handles.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working and you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Let’s make sure to stay safe with To make sure your Christmas/Holiday Lights.  Some practical safety precautions are:

  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Use caution when removing outdoor holiday lights. Never pull or tug on lights – they could unravel and inadvertently wrap around power lines.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

Fireplace safety is another area to be concerned about with the cold weather.  Some tips to keep fireplaces clean:

  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
  • Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.

Here are some final tips to stay safe throughout the year, not just at holiday time…

  • Regularly Check Smoke Alarms – most cities have a Free Smoke Detector Installation Program and fire fighters will install working smoke detectors in homes.  Check to see if that is available in your town.
  • Don’t Overload Circuits – Do not place cords and wires under rugs or in high traffic areas. Have outlets that sputter or emit an odor professionally repaired or replaced.
  • Follow Manufacturer’s Directions – Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired.
  • Use Safety Caps – Cover unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.
  • Have a Fire Escape Plan – Practice an escape plan from every room of the home or business. Ensure family members of all ages have an emergency phone number and alternate meeting spot memorized.
Posted 9:30 AM  View Comments

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